UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert Johnson and Dartmouth Select Board Chair Shawn MacDonald will formalize a “town-gown” compact at the first Annual Community Breakfast today, seeking to strengthen an already strong half-century relationship between the university and town.
The agreement “characterizes a commitment and on-going relationship among well-meaning and mutually interested parties to work together to uphold the values of cooperation and civic responsibility, and to strengthen the educational, cultural, and economic fabric of the community.”
The compact notes that the university has been located on 710 acres of land in Dartmouth since 1964, and has evolved into a Tier 1 National Research University with more than 8,500 students, 1,400 faculty and staff members, and 52,000 alumni. This includes 370 students, 235 employees, and 2,400 alumni living in Dartmouth.
The university and town commit to:
1. Establishing and maintaining an active Town/Gown Task Force, including members representing the interests of the Town and the University.
2. Collaborating to implement mutually beneficial activities identified by the Town/Gown Task Force, and approved by governing bodies of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and the Town of Dartmouth.
3. Issuing an annual Town/Gown Task Force Report indicating collaborative activity and progress in the following areas:
- Business and economic development
- Health and wellness
- Teaching, learning and research
- Public safety and emergency management
- Cultural and civic engagement
- Land and facilities management
4. Holding at least one joint meeting of Town and University leaders per year to discuss common challenges and opportunities.
Initial activities of the task force include:
- Increase communication to town residents regarding the UMass Dartmouth cultural and recreational activities open to town residents.
- Establish an internship pipeline from the University to Town Hall, providing students with valuable experiential learning opportunities.
- Re-establish the annual UMass Dartmouth Freedom Festival in connection with July, 2020 Independence Day celebration.
- Establish professional development programs for Town of Dartmouth employees that can be replicated by other municipalities.
- Formalize university-town protocols related to public safety and emergency management.
- Establish land and facility use working group to identify opportunities for mutually beneficial development.
- Evaluate opportunities for students to engage with the business community.